My father’s hand

By the open window
he laid it flat on the table
and studied it.
In wonderment
and in bemusement.

Traced its topography:
the undulating blue-grey hills
and the network of rivulets
coursing the parched surface;
a surface rendered all the more translucent
by the Indian summer sun.

Marvelled at its uses,
its continuing dexterity,
its searching willingness
to push the pen across the paper
to make the marks
to form the words
to write the books
that lined the shelf
above the table.

Flexed it,
bunched it
and flattened it once more.
This frail, trembling appendage of his,
this hand of his,
in the autumn of its years.

Poet: Sarah H Edwards
Illustrated by Tim Shelbourne

This poem was Commended in The Poems Please Me Prize 2015

Sarah lives in London and works as an EFL/ESOL tutor. She draws, paints and writes for pleasure.

See other illustrations of this and all winning and commended poems in our eBook Red on Bone